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Strategic Instruction and Content Enhancement in S.T.E.M., Civics, and ELA for Middle, High, and Home Schools
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Download FREE classroom-tested activities that teachers can use with students and colleagues to spark strategic instruction and content enhancement.
Scientific Knowledge and The Double Square Puzzle
Start the Science class with one (1) square. It's simple, because one square is unambiguous. But then challenge students to take four (4) polygons and arrange them together to make a square shape. A-ha! That's trickier. Like Science, there can be many hypothesis on how they fit together, but the best solution solves the puzzle. If it doesn't work, it's back to square one.
The Back to Square 1-4-5 lab activity gets students/student teams to think about the nature of science, and also, to show the importance of being an active participant in the learning process. Ss should realize that science is dynamic, and it changes as knowledge of a subject increases. Because there's a final challenge: integrate all five (5) polygon pieces from the previous puzzles together to make a super-square -- just like when a new piece of evidence emerges from experimentation and has to be included in any scientific explanation.
The Back To Square 1-4-5 lab activity uses a puzzle which includes five interfitting pieces, four of which can form a square and all five of which can be fit together collectively form a larger square. Just copy, cut out, give to kids to crack the puzzles, and let the class consider how scientific knowledge is open to revision in the light of new evidence.
And as an in-class example, I've adapted the Question Exploration on What Helps Proves Post-Pangaea Plate Tectonics. Wegener's Puzzling Continental Drift Evidence is a great case study to have students grasp the concept of how scientists look for clues.